KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Erik ten Hag has been appointed as new manager of Manchester United on three-year contract in the wake of the 4-0 humiliation away to Liverpool.
Mohamed Salah’s first two goals since February 19 – making it nine in his last six matches against Liverpool’s historical rivals – were supplemented by strikes from Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane and the scoreline was far from the full story.
Liverpool defeated United 5-0 at Old Trafford in October and the 9-0 aggregate was their highest in league history. United’s 54 points is also their lowest total at this stage since the Premier League’s creation in 1992.
The Dutchman, 52, will take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick at the end of this season on a three-year deal which can be extended by a year.
Rangnick, who replaced the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November, is set to move into a consultancy role.
Ten Hag will become United’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
He said: “It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead.
“I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.”
United are sixth in the Premier League with five games remaining this season, three points behind Tottenham, who occupy the fourth Champions League spot.
At Anfield United were without injured Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Fred and Edinson Cavani while Cristiano Ronaldo was on compassionate leave. Their problems increased when Paul Pogba limped off in the first half.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp acknowledged his those issues affected United. He said: “I am not here to humiliate opponents. We did what we had to do in the [two] games. The 9-0 is something for the supporters to celebrate. I know it will not last forever. United will strike back.”
Generous of him. This United will not be striking back for a very long time.
The anger of their fans was expressed by former captains and TV analysts Roy Keane and Gary Neville. Keane said: “There was no heart, no leadership, they lacked quality, you felt Liverpool could score any time they went forward. The fans have no time for the owners and they need a new manager.
‘No hiding place’
“The performances and results don’t reflect what United stood for when I played for them. I don’t see any pride. There is no hiding place at this level.”
Neville said: “The club is broken, the stadium is falling apart, the training ground is behind the times, the manager needs replacing and the playing squad needs clearing out.”
Even Rangnick could not disagree. He admitted: “It’s embarrassing, it’s disappointing, maybe even humiliating. Liverpool are six years ahead of us.”
Manchester United statement:
Manchester United is delighted to announce the appointment of Erik ten Hag as Men’s First Team Manager, subject to work visa requirements, from the end of this season until June 2025, with the option to extend for a further year.
John Murtough, Football Director, said: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.
“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.
“We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer.”
Erik ten Hag said: “It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead. I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.
“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”